Short answer, no. There’s never an excuse to buy fast fashion with the wear-it-once mentality.
The most recent trend we’ve seen lately, regarding Halloween costumes, is buying a whole new set you’ll wear one time and then throwing it out or donating it because it can’t be reworn. This creates a multitude of problems, starting with the wasted garment material. If the clothing is donated, it will likely go to the trash because of the cheap material most read-made costumes come in. Additionally, goodwill stores have proven to be highly selective with their donation process, so even if the clothing is in an okay state- more often than not, it will end up in a landfill. So, while the warm sentiment is there, the fact is, up to 90 percent of clothing donations to Goodwill, Salvation Army, and other charities ends up with textile recyclers, according to a Saturday Evening Post report.
For clothes that don’t immediately land up in your trash can or recycling, it will sit in your closet collecting dust for years to come- waiting for that inevitable moment. The main idea is inarguable; Halloween is fueled by consumerism. The carbon footprint left behind following October 31st each year is unmatchable when it comes to garment unsustainability.
According to the National Retail Foundation, the expected consumer spending on Halloween-related items was $10.14 billion. To magnify our topic on clothing sustainability, it is estimated that 4 in 10 costumes are only worn once (Fairyland Trust). Halloween presents a different idea with one-time use costumes, which goes against the sustainability agenda of promoting higher-quality goods that will last longer and eliminate fast fashion.
Despite the fact that there are more environmentally beneficial ways to dispose of costumes, only about 13% of the material is recycled internationally, and just 1% is repurposed into new apparel. Due to the failure of costumes to be fully recycled, I propose that you construct your own costumes, restricting your purchases to rewearable items or (at most) inexpensive accessories to really pull off your look.
In response to the unsustainable mentality that comes with Halloween, campaigns around the world such as Sew Spooky encourage people to be creative with their costumes. Through costume workshops and swaps, people can get involved with their community and celebrate Halloween while still being conscious of the environment. Keeping the environment in mind during the holidays can make a significant difference (Scot Scoop).
A list formulated by Harvard Education offers different ways of celebrating a greener Halloween.
Check out 6 Tips for a Greener Halloween.
This list includes:
- Vintage, DIY costumes
- Getting craft with your fall decorations
- Throw a green party
- Purchase sustainably and locally grown pumpkins
- Pass out organic, gmo free candy
Be sure to share this list with your friends for a greener Halloween next year!